—after Gloria Anzaldúa

My Latina friend confesses:
I was afraid of you—
that you were one of those Latinas—
you know the ones.

I know the ones standing under my high school’s
stairwells cutting fifth period, who know
how to graffiti their notebooks in Chicano,
who yell at me in Spanish

because they know that I don’t know
what they are saying, who call me white
washed, who know my tongue
is not Chicana enough

for their ears. Four years of high school
Spanish is not slang enough to understand
that ‘stá bien mija means Está bien mi hija.
It is not enough to have Spanish-speaking parents

who have left their tongues on the front porch
of their family’s small migrant houses
because those lives were not enough
for their own dreams—dreams that could not live

in a one bedroom house with too many bodies
turning the living room into a dining room
for dinner, and into the children’s room
in time for dreams—my parents’ dreams shed

the dirt, the callouses, the boots, the tongue
for the suburban life. The chalk outline of squared
lawns, unbroken sidewalks, well-dressed kids,
and schools with white teachers. With white walls,

white students, whiteboards, white paper—white stairs
for me to hide underneath.